It is very rare that I have to force myself to play a game for a period of time . Usually there is some redeeming feature that makes the good , better or the bad passable, however, this is certainly not the case with Tour De France 2012 . Forget the excitement of Wiggins and co, as playing this monstrosity has more in common with riding through France with a flat tire and a broken leg than enjoyment .
I criticised London 2012 Olympics for being a plain button basher, but it is positively exciting and thoughtful compared to Tour de France. In essence, you hold the A button to allow your rider to start peddling . Rinse and repeat until you win/your thumb falls off/lose will to live (delete as approriate) And that’s it . Of course there are various ‘layers’ that allow you to change the speed of your rider , change the gear for ease depending on terrain, as well as various food items that you can eat to give your rider more energy. Not convinced that its not worth the light of day yet? I guarantee you will not care about any of the features that I described as excitement isn’t something you will experience at any point.
Even at top speed, riders feel anaemic and you never feel like anything you change, whether peddling faster or changing gear, makes any tangible difference . It comes with the territory that the pace of the game would need to have a bearing on the actual Tour De France, especially as it is very much a long term sport, with endurance playing a large part in being successful. However, ‘enduring’ something you purposefully bought for your enjoyment completely defeats the point of gaming.
Apparently none of the riders can go faster than a snail’s pace when they eat which just extenuates how bloody awful the pacing is, turning something that could be used tactically into another drag. .A well crafted team system, with every command you could ever wish for , is nothing short of useless, with your ‘team’ having more in common with ghosts, as they never seem to be anywhere near you. Perhaps more baffling is how long each section of the whole Tour de France takes. Race: Grid managed to distill Le Mans 24 hour race into a nerve racking 24 minute race ; Tour de France uses effective real time for EACH section. That isn’t a recipe of fun even if the game play bordered on enjoyable and, as you may have guessed, you wont find this here.
Even turning the game on was incredibly painful ,l with the same CGI video being played twice before the menus had even appeared. To top this off ,the menu music is the same as the credit music, which, coincidentally, is the same music that plays through the whole of the game; no variation or atmosphere to be found here. The whole development process reeks of pure laziness. There is even a edit name feature on the menu, which, to enthusiasts, means you could essentially change a name of the one of the cyclists and then you would be the one racing. However, the fact that a single player career mode is sorely lacking, in that you have no choice to create your own avatar , makes it look far more likely what PES used to do; add an editor in the game to make up for that fact that they were not able to use the names of certain stars because they couldn’t afford the licensing for them.
Presentation is poor, with a sparse menu screen that allows you to either choose a time trial race that is a small section of the Tour De France, or you can do the whole thing. You are given the choice to choose from a huge array of teams and you do have to make a conscious decision to match up your cyclists with their particular strengths i.e Mark Cavendish being well known for his sprinting capabilities. Do not worry, this is about as taxing as the whole experience gets.
The graphics have more in common with the Ps2 you now have lying under your bed gathering dust. The Tour De France is essentially a team sport, something which the developers splash proudly over the games first opening screens and menus. So why ,oh why would you use the same models for EVERY rider when using the difference between the riders as a selling point?! Naming each cyclist as a variation of ‘bot’ would make more sense. The beautiful landscape of France looks like Slough ( watch The Office with Ricky Gervais to have an idea how awful that looks ) crossed with a 4 year old’s crayon drawings; bland, lots of primary colours and, at the end of the day, you have no idea what you are looking at until you are told.
The screenshots do the game FAR more justice than it deserves as it looks just plain awful when its moving. Multiplayer is nonexistent.That’s not to say that the feature isn’t there but it seems everyone avoided this game , or didn’t want others to know they have played it , as online population is zero . It would seem sharing the pain of playing this game is too much for the population at large.
The whole experience is just plain awful and it seems to be a blatant cash in for the excitement that the Tour De France generates. Gaming mechanics are nonexistent, graphics are well below average and any excitement that is generated comes from the relief you have when you head back to the Xbox Dashboard and stop playing. Even at bargain bin prices, which, judging by the way it has been critically received , it will head to very soon, it is not worth the time or effort to pick up and play. Avoid!!